Monday, October 17, 2005

Gay marriage in Texas - a future headline

The State of Texas Recognizes that Gay Marriage is “similar” to Heterosexual Marriage.

In a bizarre twist the state of Texas in its earnestness to ban gay unions, and annihilate the possibility of civil unions from other states being recognized as marriage within its borders has now enshrined the idea into its constitution that gay marriages are not only meaningful unions but also are in fact similar to more traditional forms of marriage. The wording of the constitutional ammendment went something like this:
“The constitutional amendment providing that marriage in this state consists only of the union of one man and one woman and prohibiting this state or a political subdivision of this state from creating or recognizing any legal status identical or similar to marriage.”

While the wording is fairly broad, its intention matters to its ultimate interpretation in the courts. The state can’t outlaw legal statuses “similar to marriage” without looking at the underlying relationships that are protected by that status unless they want to outlaw every legal partnership in existence in the state. Thus, in order to enforce their own constitution, the state has had to make it clear just what makes a gay contractual union “similar to marriage” but a power of attorney relationship within a non-homosexual household not “similar to marriage.”

Though the legislature is still struggling with the issue the argument has already been made by gay rights advocates that contractual unions between gay couples designed to protect the legal rights of their romantic partners cannot be considered marriage or even “similar to marriage” because the constitution has already defined marriage as being between one man and one woman.

Last week the legislature attempted to remedy this problem by proposing that contractual relationships in which the signers of the contract are having an “intimate relationship” would be considered “similar to marriage” while those who entered contracts who had no such relationship would be considered “not similar to marriage.” However this idea was reconsidered when 3 wives of state senators sued the state for an official annulment of their marital status arguing that their licenses should not constitute legal marriages due to a lack of intimacy in their relationships.

The legislature quickly dropped the “intimacy” approach and is now struggling to create a legal definition for sex that includes typical homosexual romantic behavior. Unfortunately, they have hit a roadblock in that the Texas legislators are not entirely sure how gay sex works, and are currently searching for a non-gay expert on the subject.